INFORMATION ABOUT EGRET FLOWERS…
By: Nikki Phipps
Image by hiroaki maeda There are orchids you can grow outside in the garden. These are called terrestrial (meaning in the ground) orchids and growing these types of plants can be easier than you think, provided you choose the right species and pay attention to their cultural needs.
One such species is the White Egret Flower (Habenaria radiata), an Asian species native to Japan. Exhibiting an impressive pearly white flower with a broad heavily fringed lip, the flower resembles an egret in flight. In fact, its Japanese name, Sagi-sou, is derived from its egret-flying appearance. Sagi is the Japanese name of a white egret or heron.
Egret flower can be grown in full sun to partial shade. As egret flower is a terrestrial orchid found in very wet conditions, such as bogs, in the wild, it should be planted and treated as a bog plant.
Plant the tubers 2-3 inches deep in the spring after all danger of frost has passed in sandy, well-drained soil with moderate to constant moisture. Egret flower will not tolerate any dry conditions. Applying sphagnum moss will help to retain moisture. During winter, however, egret flowers must be kept dry or their tubers will rot. Mulching for winter protection is recommended, especially in colder climates.
Growing from pea-like tubers, the small, fleshy strap-like foliage comes up in the spring but doesn’t bloom until late summer. However, once in bloom, there can be more than twelve white blossoms on one flower spike that will bloom for weeks. There are also several other cultivars available with variegated leaves and flower selections.
Reaching 12-15 inches tall, this beautiful flower makes a wonderful addition to any garden. Egret flower makes an attractive companion to other bog plants including carnivorous species such as pitcher plants. In addition to bog-like environments, egret flowers can also be grown in containers.